It’s About to Be Quidditch Season

Minneapolis joins top U.S. league for “Harry Potter”-popularized sport

Minnesota has a pro quidditch team.

Photo courtesy Cally O’Neill

Holy Hogwarts!

This April, the Minnesota Voyageurs will hold tryouts for 30 spots on the team ahead of its first season as a part of Major League Quidditch. The 15-team league plays 12 regular season games, with home games at a site to be determined.

Unlike the sport described in the pages of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga, flying is replaced with running—but the competitors still have broomsticks between their thighs. “We are ecstatic,” says Voyageurs founder and events director Luke Zak. “There has been a motivated and talented pool of athletes from the Twin Cities in the sport for nearly a decade. Our athletes are ready to give everything they have on the pitch as we contend for a spot at the 2019 MLQ Championship.” More at–Reed Fischer

How Do You Play Quidditch?

In the Harry Potter series, Quidditch is a soccer-like, rugby-like, basketball-like—actually, no, it’s not really like any sport. Sure, there are two teams of seven. You can play it on a soccer field. But how many sports end only when a player finally snatches up a tiny, winged, golden ball buzzing around the pitch like a manic hummingbird? None. None of them ends that way. Except for real-life, lowercase-q quidditch. Kind of. It ends when someone grabs a tennis ball dangling out of a designated player’s shorts.

The basics:

Three goal hoops stand on either end of the field, and the game starts with three balls lined up at the center. Players “mount” their brooms and rush in.

Four balls come into play. In the books, just one of them is normal—meaning non-sentient. It’s called the quaffle. It’s the main ball. In real-life quidditch, it’s a tad-deflated volleyball. Three players on each team handle the quaffle. These players are called chasers. They score points by throwing or kicking the quaffle through the opposing team’s goal hoops.

The keeper is like the goalie for each team. They try to block chasers from lobbing the quaffle through any of their three hoops, for 10 points each.

The other two balls in the center lineup are called bludgers, which are dodgeballs. Two players per team, known as beaters, whip the bludgers at opposing players, who, when hit, must dismount and touch a goal hoop to resume playing.

The last ball is the snitch—the aforementioned, socked tennis ball strapped to a player dressed in canary-yellow gym clothes or gold spandex. This person—probably the speediest, most evasive—is neutral, on neither team. He or she starts playing 17 minutes in. Two seekers, one per team, take chase at minute 18. Catching the snitch awards 30 points and ends the game.

Lastly, of course, you must stay on your broomstick, grasping it between your legs. –Erik Tormoen